Considering the situation in the country the government of India has decided to invoke National Disaster Management Act which is meant to handle disasters natural or man-made. It is the first time in the country the act is being applied which allows centre to directly control states.
Though health is usually under the control of the states, considering coronavirus a “threat” to the country, the home ministry in its order said the National Disaster Management Authority has “considered it necessary to take effective measures”.
At a meeting between the senior bureaucrats of the states and the top officials of Delhi – the cabinet secretary and Principal Secretary and the police chief – the states were told that they have to follow the Centre’s directive on the matter, sources said.
Sources said when a clarification was sought about whether this is curfew or not, the Central officials explained that the coronavirus is a pandemic and permitting more people to stay out of doors would create problems, facilitating its spread. This was not a law and order situation, where one can identify trouble makers, sources quoted them as saying.
In the guidelines issued for the lockdown, the government clarified that anyone violating regulatory proceedings will be punished for six months under sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The Center has asked the states to ensure adequate care for doctors and other health workers.